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We Are All terminal But This Exit Is Mine

New from Unknown Press, this full-length collection of poetry explores the childhood memories and nostalgic daydreams of a grade-school bookworm now grown up to face cancer, chemo, debt, solitude, and the fear that all the joys and hopes of a bygone youth are slipping out of reach. Available through Amazon, by special order at your local bookstore, or by contacting the author at jhdwriting@hotmail.com for signed copies. 

"An unflinching collection that spins a web of reminiscence sweet with heartache and dusted with longing for a youth now passed." – Ally Malinenko, author of The Wanting Bone and This Is Sarah    

Note from the author: I'd like to thank Bud Smith and Devin Kelly at Unknown Press for their editorial guidance and creative insight, and Alicia Frehulfer for allowing me to use this gorgeous painting for the cover. For more information, visit the "New Release!" tab above. 

Dead City Jazz

This poetry collection weaves in and out of San Antonio nights, each soaked with neon lights, hard liquor, and the pained, lost, hopeful, suicidal, and redemptive population of dreamers stalking the streets. The book is part of the Punk Chapbook Series by Epic Rites Press.

"A lively sampling of work. Duncan explores the geography of human emotion, love, loneliness, desperation, fear and indifference using robust imagery while simultaneously intertwining narratives. Throughout these poems, [he] shows how you can travel anywhere, but you will always find similar social landscapes." - Trailer Park Quarterly [Full Review

What Lies In Wait

In the tradition of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, these stories explore the unexpected and strange, the whimsical and nostalgic, the eerie and gruesome, sixteen tales of lives forever changed by simple choices and small mistakes, ordinary people unaware they are crossing the point of no return, leaving the common world for a realm of the unknown. From eerie ghost stories to lighthearted runaway tales, these stories explore the entire spectrum of what happens when we confront ... what lies in wait.

“I just can’t recommend strongly enough James H Duncan’s new collection of stories, each infused with a human quality that makes even those that deal in the fantastic resonate with humor, pathos, and emotional maturity.” — Philip Athans, bestselling author of Annihilation

"Considering the title ... someone unfamiliar with Duncan might expect this to be a collection of horror stories. Yet Duncan’s work resists genre, as his words pass through the conventions of apocalypse, noir, whimsy, zombie alternate history, and the uncanny. ... Duncan implements his mysteries with rich description and a marvelous knack for keeping the reader focused on both the moment and the foreboding possibilities of what comes next." - David S. Atkinson, author of Bones Buried in the Dirt (See David's full review at Buffalo Almanack.)

A special thank you goes out to Alexandra Soman for the cover image “but your ghost I will gladly bear.” Visit her work at www.psycheanamnesis.deviantart.com.

For copies, visit Amazon.com!


Berlin is now available from Maverick Duck Press! From New York to Berlin and back, these poems chronicle the romance, intrigue, sadness, humor, and brooding wintertime nostalgia of the people and places of Berlin—a city like no other. Walk along the Spree as snow falls on cobbled streets, drift from lamppost to lamppost at night as WWII-era ghosts fly overhead, and stroll beneath the lights of the Ku'damm with actresses, bus drivers, and policemen as the glowing cafes call out with promises of coffee and warmth. This is Berlin. A special thanks goes to Ryan W. Bradley for designing the cover.

The Cards We Keep

From crooked detectives to boxcar hobos; from desperate bounty hunters to disgraced celebrities; from small-town doldrums to haunted marriages—these ten stories explore the strange and uncertain, the deadly and the lonesome, looking deep into the aching reflections of the choices we’ve made, the cages we’ve created, the secrets we’ve buried, and at the ace cards we’ve tucked away into our sleeves during the long and dangerous card game of life...waiting for that moment when we’ll need them the most.

(A special thank you goes to Emmanuel Jose, the artist who created the playing card image I used for the cover.)

"The writing calls back to dime store detective novels (in the best ways), and there’s a tone of the dusty 1940s time period feel to most of this — all the girls are gals or dames. The men long for steaks and cold beers."  Bud Smith, author of Tollbooth

"The stories in The Cards We Keep all ruminate with dark undertones, yet there is also a charming and uniquely hopeful aspect to them as well.  Many of the stories have a Noir-esque feel to them, with hitmen, murder, and gore, but these pieces are written in a fresh and inspiring way, with the reader connecting with and understanding the mind of the troubled characters. This collection is a must buy for short fiction lovers."  April Michelle Bratten, editor of Up The Staircase Quarterly

For copies, visit Amazon.com!

Too Much: An Anthology of Excess

This anthology from Unknown Press dives into those wild nights and days when too much really  became too much, those hilarious or regretful stories of alcoholic, sexual, and narcotic excess in one form or another. "The Rube," a partially fictionalized tale by James H Duncan is about the consequences of drinking one's weight in Red Stripe after an emergency landing in a third-world country, passport clutched in a white-knuckle grip. The anthology is edited by Chuck Howe and also includes stories and poetry from such writers as Meg Tuite, Puma Perl, Robert Vaughn, Ted Jackins, Ryder Collins, Heather Dorn, Ron Kolm, and many more. Available at Amazon.com for $11.99.

For copies, visit Amazon.com!

Lantern Lit, Vol. 1 (The Darkest Bomb)

This split-author poetry chapbook features James H Duncan, John Dorsey, and Mat Gould. The Darkest Bomb, Duncan's mini-chap, examines the ending that waits for us all and the millions of paths we take to reach that final explosion of nothingness, the darkest bomb. You can find a sample poem by clicking HERE.

"There's a tightness here reminiscent of Carver ... that your average Bukowski imitator just never — or so rarely that it's pretty much the same thing — ever pulls off." - The Bicycle Review 

"These are urgent poems, which live resolutely in the modern landscape. There’s a quality of resilience about them, of vivacity in spite of urban decay." - The Lit Pub

You can obtain copies directly from the publisher's website, Dog On A Chain Press, or from Amazon.com.

Dealing With the Devil in the Middle of the Road: New & Selected Poems

This full-length collection combines new poems with the best of Duncan’s work published between 2005 and 2012—a span in which his poetry appeared in more than sixty print and online journals and in five small-press chapbooks.

“His poems aren't just about the night flow of the world of jazz and highways, but about the search for love and comfort we all have in common. They remind us to hope that maybe there's a soft place for us to land after all.” - Dena Rash Guzman, author of Life Cycle

"From the opening lines ... you find yourself drawn into a world of fading dreams, tired souls, ambitious strippers, whiskey glasses, hustlers, juke boxes and travelers. ... He’s the quiet guy at the bar, nursing his last drink and taking it all in. Later on, when you’ve forgotten it all, he remembers. He knows the names of the hookers you visited, he knows where you dropped your last twenty, he saw how you got those grazes on your forehead, the bruises on your knees, he was there at opening time for the heart starter and he was on the bus when you fled town. His isn’t the voice of reason, it’s the voice of being, of surviving." - Kami, poet and proprietor of Jazz From Hell Productions

"James Duncan’s Dealing With the Devil in the Middle of the Road weaves the articulate and eloquent grace of a storywriter with that of a poet. In ghostly and sensual atmospherics, it narrates the lives of men traversing darkened streets and highways, railroad trellises, dead-end jobs, in and out of bars, and in and out of love." - Jeffrey C. Alfier, author of The Wolf Yearling; editor of the San Pedro River Review

For copies, visit Amazon.com!

The following poetry chapbooks are only available through the author or are out-of-print.


Desolation 2 a.m. (Hobo Camp Press, 2010)

Maybe a Bird Will Sing (Bird War Press, 2009)

Ballast (2008)

Thrift Store Majestic (2006)

Welcome to the Night Shift (2005)